Helicopter Parenting


Can a parent of a child with mental illness (MI) ever hover too much? Many of us struggle with how to answer that question. Especially when we have adult children in the home. Daily we wonder how much advice we should give and how many rules we should establish.

Our motherly instinct tells us to protect. Parenting habits can’t easily be shut off. It’s even harder when our child is hurting. How can we stand by and do nothing?

Our 33 yr. old son wants to make his own decisions. Plan his own course for his life. I’m grateful he’s goal-driven. There’s a conflict within me that requires stifling: lovingly share suggestions or let him follow his own path. I respect the fact he’s an adult and would prefer to be living independently. So I work at giving him his own space. Let him live life the way he chooses.

It helps me to think of it as relinquishing my care into the loving hands of my Father. Letting God do the hovering.

The verse in Isaiah 31:5 paints a beautiful picture of God’s protection. We envision God soaring over His people like a mighty eagle, ready to hide His children under His wings. Preparing to swoop down and demolish the approaching Assyrian army which threatens the Israelites. Such power and tenderness!

“Like birds hovering overhead, the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.”  Isaiah 31:5

Heavenly Father, please hover over my son. Hide him from danger under Your wings. Destroy the turmoil MI attempts to inflict on him.

What about us? Don’t we also need someone to tenderly care for us? We give and give and give. Who will hover over us? Who will protect us from feeling utterly defeated, destroyed, and despondent? God will. He’ll renew, refresh, and raise us up.

Listen to the beautiful voices of Celtic Women as they sing ‘You Raise Me Up.’


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s